Carpi vs. AC Milan: Winners and Losers from Serie A
Milan failed to take advantage of slip-ups higher up in the Serie A table this weekend by playing to a scoreless, insipid draw with Carpi at the Alberto Braglia on Sunday.
The first half was full of excitement as the home side thrust forward with gusto, but the pattern of play shifted in the second half, leading to plenty of Milan possession, but little in terms of cutting edge.
Here, Bleacher Report picks its winners and losers from the game.
Winner: M’Baye Niang, Milan
M’Baye Niang was Milan’s best performer on Sunday night, assuming the role of creative spark on a night where, for the most part, many of his team-mates went missing.
His surging runs caused the Carpi defence plenty of issues whether they were from deep or on the left, and while his crossing was a little disappointing, he looked by far the most likely to conjure a moment of attacking inspiration.
One particular run saw him ride two challenges and speed forward to play in Carlos Bacca, only for his colleague to drift offside.
Loser: Carlos Bacca, Milan
It’s games like these—0-0 stalemates—when you expect your €30 million striker to settle things and tip the game's balance in your favour, but Carlos Bacca failed to show up for Milan on Sunday.
Admittedly his team-mates gave him very little to work with—his strengths (channel-running and instinctive finishing) weren’t unlocked—but he did squander one huge counter-attacking chance by inexplicably straying offside in a three vs. two scenario and couldn’t conjure a single moment of strong attacking play himself against a defensive line barely scratching Serie A standards.
Strikers do have their off days, but Bacca was eerily quiet.
Winner: Gianluigi Donnarumma, Milan
Gianluigi Donnarumma’s emergence this season has been one of Serie A’s biggest storylines for obvious reasons: It’s rare you’ll see a 16-year-old goalkeeper claim the starting spot in any senior side, let alone at a club as pressurised as Milan.
He put in another strong showing on Sunday, keeping a clean sheet and claiming five Carpi shots with relative ease. He was forced into one magnificent save, springing to his left to palm a 30-yard effort clear. On a night where positive performances were lacking, Donnarumma makes the grade as a winner.
The Italian has all the core strengths of a stunning ‘keeper; his frame is already massive considering his age, his reflexes are smart and he keeps a remarkably cool head under pressure.
Loser: Alessio Cerci, Milan
Alessio Cerci was withdrawn after 68 minutes for Luiz Adriano. In truth, he probably should have come off at half-time. According to beINSport's Matteo Bonetti, Milan fans whistled him off the pitch.
The Italian was consistently either caught offside, spoiling Milan’s best opportunities, or committing rogue touches to take the impetus and momentum out of moves. The Rossoneri started slow but found an attacking groove after about 20 minutes, only to see Cerci squander most of the chances.
Luiz Adriano wasn’t much better, but he did cause chaos at corners and could, conceivably, have been awarded a penalty after being rugby-tackled in the box.
Winner: Kevin Lasagna, Carpi
Kevin Lasagna was the best player on the park at the Alberto Braglia on Sunday evening, running relentlessly at Milan’s defensive line and causing all sorts of problems.
The Rossoneri’s cente-back duo of Alex and Alessio Romagnoli struggled to face up to the speedster, who ran in straight lines without fear and pushed Carpi up the field. He made ground, created chances and threatened Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal.
This was only Lasagna’s fourth start in Serie A this season, per WhoScored.com, but signs of a blossoming partnership with Marco Borriello are emerging. Could he be the key to escaping relegation?